by Eline Stiekema, Onrpg writer
Dance! Online is a free to play MMO which drags the player into virtual clubs where it’s all about, you guessed it, dancing. By stepping on the right squares on the dancepad or pressing the right keys on the keyboard, players battle against each other, showing off their moves. To earn the most points and win the battle, speed and skill are essential.
To get the hang of it, players are recommended to take a few ‘dance lessons’. There are four lessons to follow: ‘practice’, ‘double key practice’, ‘timing practice’ and ‘put it all together’. In this part, the graphics are rather dull; the ‘teachers’ appear to be talking, but their mouths hardly move. When you fail and need to take the lesson again, you are forced to hear the whole instruction again. After a few attempts this gets annoying, just like the teachers’ voices.
When you have completed the lessons and mastered the basic skills, the real fun can begin. Players start in the ‘channel selection’-window, where they can choose the level they want to play (‘beginner dance club’ or ‘advanced dance studio’) and pick from a small variety of clubs with names like ‘Club Ozone’ (most popular), ‘Club Focus’ (moderately popular) or ‘Club Voodoo’ (usually empty).
When you have entered a club, you can see who’s online in there and chat with other players. In the club are various rooms, started by players themselves. To join a competition, you can pick a room yourself or wait until you are invited. Some rooms are protected with a password only insiders know.
You can also start a room yourself; you are then the ‘host’ of that room. As a host, you are able to select dance mode (for example, ‘boys vs. girls’, ‘muliplayer mode’, or ‘lovers river’) and background (underwater, haunted house, football field). You can also select music, speed rate and difficulty.
As a host, you can also play single games in your room. This is very good practice for newbies who are fed up with the dance lessons or are not yet looking forward to battle against other players with much better skill.
All newbie avatars look the same. To give your avatar a more unique look, you need to buy clothes, accessories and hairstyles for it at the shop. You can pay these with the points you earned playing the game or with actual money, using a so-called Acclaim Coins-account. The purchased goods are stored in the avatars own room, where you can go to switch outfits. At the shop, you can also buy ‘shout-outs’: annoying text messages which pop up on the screen of every player.
After all these preparations, the actual dancing can start. When all the players in a room click the ‘ready’-button, the host starts the round. The avatars suddenly find themselves located on the dancefloor. The music starts and the avatars start dancing. That is, when the accompanying player presses enough keys at the right time. When input is insufficient, the avatar apathetically stands still while the others are dancing.
At the end of the round, the results are shown and every player gets a grade, varying from E to A++.
The avatars return to the room, where they can chat or start another round.
Graphics and music
Overall, the graphics look nice. The many colors and details of the dancing backgrounds are particularly eye-catching. Obviously, the developers where not afraid to use a little glitter and glamour. The avatars’ dancing moves also look smooth. Unfortunately, the mouth movements of the dancing instructors do not. But as long as the avatars are dancing instead of talking, everything looks fine.
The music is very poppy and there’s a great variety of songs to choose from, which is great if that’s your taste in music. If it’s not, dancing to Teeny Weeny String Bikini might get annoying after a while. The poppy tunes make the game seem somewhat childish and shallow.
Dance! Online is absolutely fun to play, although it may take you a while to get the hang of it. Especially the first couple of times you’ll be likely to think: how can anyone move this fast?!
But with some practice it’s quite easy to learn and it starts to get just a little addictive, especially after a few good battles. I liked the fact that you can also play alone, because at first I was a little shy to play with others, since I could hardly press one key right. After some practice I felt more confident to battle others. It was a pity though, that there were often not so many players online, and the ones who were usually gathered in one club that was almost always full. Sometimes playing by myself was the only option. The poppy music added to the impression that this is a game for particularly younger players, although older players absolutely can enjoy it too.
The graphics look nice, although it’s a shame that almost all the avatars look the same. To give your avatar a more original look, you need to earn quite a lot of points or pay with actual money, which seems a little excessive, seeing that it’s after all ‘just a game’.
If you’re looking for a breezy, fun-to-play MMO, Dance! Online could definitely be your thing. For more serious players it might be a little too shallow. I really had fun playing it though.
– Playing is fun and kind of addictive
– The ability to choose whether you want to play with others or alone
– Great variety in backgrounds and songs
– Different ‘dance modes’
– Poppy music quickly gets annoying
– Not a great choice in outfits for your avatar
– Game comes over as childish and shallow